International Day of The Elderly: Cross River Rewards Senior Citizens

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by crossriverwatch admin

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development giving the award to one of the recipients
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development giving the award to one of the recipients

The 2013 International Day of the Elderly was marked in Calabar on Wednesday, October 2, with the presentation of awards to two senior citizens by the State Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development.

Chief Victor Effiom and Dr. Grace Effiong Edet, OON were given the Father and Mother of the Year awards for their meritorious service to the society.

Chief Victor Effiom, one time General Manager of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Port Harcourt, Calabar and Enugu was honored as the Father of the Year. The astute journalist has received over 25 awards for his relentless service to the society.

While Dr. Grace Effiong Edet, OON, aged 66 was awarded the Mother of the Year prize. Dr. Effiong is the past Vice Chairman of Nigerian Red Cross Society and a Patron of Media Women Organization. She is also a member of Council of Palace Chiefs in the Palace of the Obong of Calabar and the Sole Proprietor of Marian Hotels.

The recipients lauded the efforts of the organizers for the special recognition accorded them and promised to continue in their service to humanity.

The Commissioner, Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development, Barrister Inyang Patricia Endeley in her speech thanked God for all He has been doing in the life of the elderly.

She said that the rationale for the event is to reawaken the consciousness of members of the society towards the inputs made by the celebrants and other elderly persons.

She urged the senior citizens not to lose hope of a better tomorrow by continuously sharing with the younger generations worth while experiences from their wealth of knowledge.

She beckoned on the younger generation saddled with the duty of leading in future to always lead a life worthy of commendation with their foresight intact revealing that in the near future, a befitting recreational/civic center will be created in the state for the elderly.

A Lecturer from the Department of Sociology, University of Calabar, Dr. Enang Ebingha in his remarks said “Considering our historically intractable religious cum ethno-political marriage, which has become a recurrent excuse for our snail speed approach to policy formulation and execution by our senior citizens when issues of national discuss surfaces; they sweep them with issues of national integration, ethnic and religious tolerance and above all politicization.”

The Sociologist revealed that “unarguably, there is a dramatic increase in the proportion of the old around the globe. Nigeria with an estimated population of 170,123,740 according to the CIA World Factbook, 2013 is said to have only 30% (male 2,325,682; females 2,735,991) of her population above 65 years of age and a life expectancy of 52.05 years (48.95; female 55.33 years).

“The population of people aged 60 years and above is expected to increase to 60% by 2025 according to the United Nation, 2005. Ideally one would believe that there should be little or no problem in caring adequately for the old, poor and needy as a sign of gratitude for the immense inputs they made to the growth of Nigeria which is naturally blessed, but the reverse is the case.” he said.

He lamented the deficiencies in the Pension Administration in country arguing that it leaves the elderly disadvantaged, “The Pension Reform Act 2004 is still periled with several skepticism and many questions hanging for instance, if only 4.3million Nigerians as at 2010 were in the data of PenCom with 15 out of 36 states in compliance, what becomes of the rest? Uncertainty and a bleak future!”

The International Day of the elderly was created by the United Nation Assembly resolution 45/106 to celebrate the elderly on every 1st October but is celebrated on the 2nd of October in Nigeria because it coincides with the Independence Day celebration in the country.

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